How to pick a server CPU cooler

I just put in an offer on a Supermicro X9DRD-7LN4F on ebay, but it doesn’t come with CPU coolers. When I look at Supermicro’s cooler page there are several different sizes for the 2011 socket. How do you find a cooler that fits? I’m putting this into a 4U case and would like an active cooler.

Is this the right one?

I’m obviously a little late to the party, but there are a few things to check before opting for a particular cooler.

Ideally, the cooler is marketed as designed for / compatible with the socket on your motherboard. Imho, you don’t need to rely on SuperMicro to tell you which coolers are or aren’t compatible with a specific motherboard. There are many more models available than they list on their site. But even coolers designed for other sockets might fit, as this forum thread suggests. However, I haven’t tried this myself so I can’t confirm this.

With the LGA 2011 specifically, it’s important to note that there is not one but two ILMs (Independent loading mechanism) for it, “Square” and “Narrow”, each with their own dimensions, which has to be taken into account. You can read more on this topic here.

Next thing is the backplate. Usually, there’s four holes in the PCB around the socket which a (metal) plate is inserted into from the back (hence the name ^^) that provides screw holes to mount the actual cooler to. Many SuperMicro boards (your’s is one of them) come with a backplate (or rather, one for each socket) preinstalled. So you can’t install a cooler that relies on their proprietary mounting system without removing the preinstalled one. I actually don’t know, but I would imagine there’s a standard thread size for the preinstalled ones.

Finally, the cooler needs to physically (spatially) fit onto your motherboard and into you your case. Going with a 4U case gives you much freedom height-wise. You’ll also need to make sure that in case the cooler overhangs the footprint of the socket (from a top view), it doesn’t get in the way of other components like RAM, expansion cards or even other coolers when installed in a multi-CPU system.

So, about that specific cooler you had in mind: Since it’s not designed for the LGA 2011 it comes down to whether the 1366’s ILM is indeed compatible with the 2011, which, again, I can’t confirm.
But I don’t see a reason you wouldn’t be able to go with a cooler of another well-known brand, which often have substantially quieter fans (if that’s a concern).

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The mobo will arrive Monday and the cooler is already here. So we’ll see if they work together. It would be nice if they would just say you need a cooler with bracket dimensions of xyz. Although it looks like if you buy the SuperMicro coolers new they come with the most common brackets. But if you buy them used it seems to come down to educated guessing on what you need and are getting.